A Comprehensive Guide
In today’s modern world, it feels like new messaging apps are emerging almost daily. But it is very difficult to find an app that genuinely offers HIPAA-compliant communication that you can trust using with your patients.
HIPAA-compliant texting for medical professionals is essential for contacting patients while keeping protected health information (PHI) safe and secure. For many doctors and pharmacists today, patient experiences often start with a text, making the task of getting to grips with the best HIPAA-compliant text messaging solutions essential.
Not sure where to begin with HIPAA-compliant messaging apps and how to send secure texts? This short guide will cover everything you need to know.
What is HIPAA-Compliant Texting?
Before we jump into HIPAA-compliant messaging in more depth, it’s worth pondering the obvious question first: why text at all? After all, there are many more communication channels available. However, most people prefer simpler methods, and statistically, texting is the most reliable and effective in reaching patients. According to The Local Project:
- Texting is the most common cell phone activity.
- 96% of smartphone owners text.
- 91% of people who text prefer it over voicemail.
- The average adult spends 23 hours a week texting.
- Texts have a 99% open rate.
- 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent.
- The average response time for a text is 90 seconds.
Given the pronounced preference, HIPAA-compliant texting for medical professionals is a no-brainer. So how do you ensure you comply? After all, there will always be the potential for data to be compromised if patients use public Wi-Fi or cell phone networks or if their phone is lost or stolen, etc.
HIPAA-compliant texting with patients requires additional encryption technologies to ensure data privacy and security. Recent updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require several safeguards from both vendor and practitioner perspectives. Hence the development of dedicated HIPAA-compliant texting platforms, which are duty-bound to ensure:
- Adequate processes and procedures to control access to PHI and how it is used.
- Regular risk assessments to identify potential data breaches and develop procedures to address them.
- Data encryption and protection is in place for anyone using a mobile device to access sensitive patient data or communicate PHI in the course of their work.
- Policies are in place to remotely delete PHI when mobile devices are lost, stolen, or replaced.
- Systems prevent PHI data from being stored on local servers that unauthorized employees or subcontractors can access.
Fortunately, DocStation understands the ins and outs of HIPAA-compliant patient messaging because it’s one of the amazing features we have rolled out this past year.
Why Should Medical Professionals Use HIPAA-Compliant Texting Platforms?
Data security, patient privacy, and the confidentiality of personal information are the main motivating factors behind 100% HIPAA-compliant messaging. However, patient protection and privacy issues aside, dedicated HIPAA-compliant texting solutions like the one DocStation offers make it easier for healthcare providers to streamline their business models, increase patient engagement, and achieve better outcomes.
As most medical professionals know, getting in touch with patients is a very manual process. Even when payers provide a list of contacts, verifying the details, getting in touch, and scheduling appointments and follow-ups are labor intensive. And that’s without considering whether the patient will even turn up.
Incorporating HIPAA-compliant text messaging to patients into your engagement strategies is an excellent way to provide continuous care, making it more likely patients will:
- Attend their scheduled appointments.
- Adhere to long-term care plans.
- Be more proactive with unassociated preventative care measures.
This combination of factors has the potential to reduce hospital readmissions and further health complications while simultaneously driving increased prescription refills and higher customer satisfaction scores.
HIPAA-Compliant Texting for Medical Professionals
Since 97% of Americans own a mobile phone, and almost all will be able to receive text messages, DocStation is dedicated to helping pharmacies find solutions to connect via HIPAA-compliant texting.
Our SMS messaging functionality pairs with our open scheduling feature to streamline clinical pharmacy workflows so your pharmacy practice runs more like a doctor’s office. Plus, you’ll be covered from a security standpoint because when you send messages and receive replies in DocStation Conversations, HIPAA-compliant communication is 100% guaranteed.
DocStation’s newest messaging and scheduling features mean patients can communicate with you easily via text without having to call the pharmacy. Key benefits include:
- Identifying patients in need.
- Having pharmacy staff initiate messages on any topic and letting patients know a response is required.
- Allowing patients to find convenient times for appointments and input their details via message to reduce in-store wait times.
- Sending automated appointment reminders.
- Sending bulk messages for flu shot clinics and other marketing campaigns
How Easy is Setup?
Getting started is simple because everything you need is on one intuitive and easy-to-use platform. Just follow these steps:
1. Sign-up for a DocStation Premium account to get access to scheduling & messaging features.
2. Complete the onboarding process with a DocStation expert on our Provider Success team.
3. Import your patient list via direct integration with your pharmacy management system or a secure .csv file upload.
4. Log-in to DocStation and start HIPAA-compliant texting with patients.
5. Send a link for patients to schedule an appointment using the DocStation Scheduling feature.
6. Document the encounter within the patient’s health record.
7. Create and submit a medical claim to earn revenue for the services provided.
How Does it Work from a Patient Perspective?
Once you’ve registered, you’ll get a weblink to place on your pharmacy website where patients can access open scheduling or send a link directly to patients via HIPAA-compliant texting.
The best HIPAA-compliant text messaging solutions don’t send sensitive information in your initial contact, and DocStation Conversations are no different. Patients will receive a notification with a web link via SMS message, open the link, confirm their identity, and correspond directly with you within a secure web portal housed within DocStation’s HIPAA-compliant platform.
Streamline Your Clinical Pharmacy Workflow with DocStation
Work smarter, not harder. Medical professionals need all the support they can get to streamline their workflow. When you sign up for DocStation’s SMS and Open Scheduling, you’ll quickly tap into the benefits of these features and remove your biggest workflow barriers.
Whether you’re a single community pharmacy or a large chain, our cloud-based platform for pharmacists and medical billing features can help you find and manage your patients efficiently with 100% HIPAA-compliant texting for medical professionals.
DocStation is a cloud-based care platform ushering in a new era of value-based healthcare. We partner with health plans and pharmacies to operate clinical programs at scale. Define performance measures, manage provider networks, leverage machine learning to optimize patient care, submit and track claims, track outcomes, integrate with your EHR, and measure ROI at your pharmacies. All on a single platform.